Primary results set stage for high-stakes November election in key statewide offices

Treasurer Read announces primary bid for Oregon secretary of state (copy)

State Treasurer Tobias Read of Beaverton  appears ready to become the first in almost 50 years to move from one statewide office to another, excluding governor. 

Updated 3:45 p.m. Thursday.

Two Democratic legislators and the incumbent state treasurer appear headed for party nominations for secretary of state, treasurer and attorney general in Tuesday’s primary.

Two Republican state senators and a former prosecutor appear ready to oppose them in the Nov. 5 general election.

Ballots were still being counted. Oregon law allows ballots to be counted if they were postmarked by Tuesday and are received by May 28, or if they were at official drop sites by 8 p.m. Tuesday.

This election cycle is the first since 2008 when all three offices are without incumbents running. Republicans were elected treasurer and attorney general most recently in 1988, and secretary of state, in 2016.

Secretary of state

State Treasurer Tobias Read appears ready to become the first in almost 50 years to move from one statewide office to another, excluding governor. Read, barred by the Oregon Constitution from a third consecutive term as treasurer, was easily winning the Democratic nomination for secretary of state over state Sen. James Manning Jr. of Eugene, 70% to 22%. Three other candidates split the rest of the votes. (Manning will keep his Senate seat; he is in the middle of his second term.)

In 1976, then-Secretary of State Clay Myers, a Republican, won the first of two terms as state treasurer. He resigned in 1984 with nine months remaining in his second term.

Read was in the Oregon House for 10 years representing a Beaverton area district.

The appointed Democratic incumbent in June 2023, LaVonne Griffin-Valade, chose not to seek a full term. Gov. Tina Kotek named the former Portland city and Multnomah County auditor to succeed Democrat Shemia Fagan, who resigned after news disclosures of her consulting work with a cannabis business while state auditors were examining regulation of the industry.

State Sen. Dennis Linthicum of Klamath Falls was winning the Republican nomination over two rivals with 66%.

The secretary of state is the state’s chief elections officer, although elections are conducted by Oregon’s 36 counties and oversees audits, business assistance and public records.

The office is also next in line to succession for the governor, appointees excepted. Since a 34-year-old Mark Hatfield was elected back in 1956, four of 11 secretaries of state have become governor, and four more ran but lost. The 11 excludes the three recent appointees, each serving less than two years and not seeking election on their own.

Republican Dennis Richardson, who ran for governor two years earlier, was elected secretary of state in 2016. He died of cancer in February 2019.

State treasurer

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State Sen. Elizabeth Steiner of Portland

State Sen. Elizabeth Steiner of Portland was winning handily over Jeff Gudman, 78% to 21%, for the Democratic nomination to succeed Read as treasurer.

Steiner, a physician, has been in the Senate since 2012 and has been Senate co-leader of the Legislature’s budget committee since 2019. Gudman, a financial adviser and former Lake Oswego city councilor, was making his third bid for treasurer. He was the Republican nominee in 2016 and 2020 but lost to Read both times. He switched parties last fall.

Steiner will face state Sen. Brian Boquist of Dallas, who was unopposed for the Republican nomination. Boquist is a four-term senator, and prior to that, was in the House four years.

The treasurer oversees state banking functions and issuance of state bonds. With four other members on the Oregon Investment Council, the treasurer sets policies for state investments including the public pension fund.

The most recent Republican elected treasurer was Tony Meeker, who was appointed to a vacancy in 1987 and won a full term in 1988.

Boquist and Linthicum were among the 10 senators barred from seeking re-election as a result of a Supreme Court decision on Feb. 1. The senators had walked out of the 2023 session for six weeks, amassing more than the 10 unexcused absences from floor sessions that a 2022 constitutional amendment disqualified them from running again. They lost a challenge filed with the high court.

Linthicum’s wife, Diane, won the Republican primary for her husband’s Senate seat, which he was elected to in 2016.

Attorney general

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Oregon House Speaker Rep. Dan Rayfield during the opening of the 2024 legislative session.

For attorney general, Democrats sided with state Rep. Dan Rayfield of Corvallis over Shaina Maxey Pomerantz of Portland, executive director of Race Talks and a former civil rights investigator for the state Bureau of Labor and Industries. Rayfield led, 76% to 23%. Rayfield has been in the House since 2015, and was House co-leader of the budget committee from 2019 until 2022, when he succeeded Tina Kotek as House speaker. He stepped down as speaker when the 2024 session ended on March 7 to concentrate on his campaign.

Will Lathrop of Newberg, a former deputy district attorney in Marion and Yamhill counties, led 2020 nominee Michael Cross of Salem for the Republican nomination, 64% to 35%. Lathrop is expected to emphasize law enforcement, although most crimes are prosecuted by district attorneys in the 36 counties.

The attorney general represents Oregon in state and federal courts — and defends criminal convictions against appeals — and gives legal advise to state agencies. The Department of Justice does prosecute specified crimes, such as election law violations and racketeering cases.

Three-term Democratic incumbent Ellen Rosenblum is retiring. She started in June 2012 after her predecessor, John Kroger, resigned with six months left in his term.

The most recent Republican to win this office was Dave Frohnmayer, who had no Democratic opponent in his third-term victory in 1988. Frohnmayer lost a bid for governor two years later. He resigned at the end of 1991 to return to the University of Oregon, first as dean of the law school, then as president from mid-1994 until mid-2009.


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